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Technology’s ROI Requires People

Technology alone does not create value, differentiation, or competitive advantage. It has to be combined with strategy and execution (by your people) – that’s where real differentiation happens.

By Jennifer Matt
Published: May 7, 2013


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Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions. You can reach her at jen@whattheythink.com.



By Keith Whisler on May 07, 2013

Love the article Jen! So much focus is always on technology and not people. I always have said: "It's just a tool, if you don't know how to use it then it's not doing you much good. " I've also always looked for problem solvers and self learners whenever hiring.


By Donald Goldman on May 07, 2013

Most successes and failures in the implementation of technology based solutions are a reflection of the use of the technology by managment and the users - people. Often, in my experience the techologists in a printing company are focused, as you indicated, on the hardware, network infostructures and the software cost (or savings) without enough concern on how it affects the users.

Windows 8 is a great piece of technology but the user interface is so different from other Window versions it reduces productivity. Microsoft now knows that and needs to make changes to make the software more usable.

The ROI looks good on paper but often the implementation cost is way over budget and does not always meet the end user or managment needs because the ROI focuses on out of pocket saving on the physical stuff but not on acceptance, usability or compatibility to previously accepted methods. Jen, your are correct in saying you need the right people on the technology team and at least one of those "right" people is focused on the applications and not on the technology alone. And, hopefully this person will be part of the management team.


By Erik Nikkanen on May 07, 2013

Good technology replaces poor technology.

Good technology often replaces people.

Yes, it is important to have good people but I have never heard of good people replacing good technology.

Getting the right balance of people and technology for what one can afford is maybe the right goal.


By Lionel Loh on May 07, 2013

Absolutely agree with Jennifer.

The right "People" injected intricately to the right technology will often or not create the very dynamic differentiation.

We always look at the hands to a watch without paying attention to the gears behind the clockworks.


By Gordon Pritchard on May 08, 2013

Lionel Loh: "We always look at the hands to a watch without paying attention to the gears behind the clockworks."

That's why clocks went digital - they got rid of the gears.

"Valued" employees are typically the first to go when companies have financial difficulties and start cost cutting.



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